The dog days of summer have just begun. It is important that we know the symptoms to look for when we or someone else has been subjected to extreme heat.
When to Seek Medical Care
As with all other medical problems, a doctor should be called if you are not sure what is wrong, if you do not know what to do for the problem, or if the person is not responding to what you are doing for them.
Call a doctor for heat exhaustion if the person is unable to keep fluids down or if their mental status begins to deteriorate. Symptoms of this are shortness of breath, chest pain, or abdominal pain may indicate that the heat exhaustion is accompanied by more serious medical problems.
Suspected heat stroke is a true, LIFE-THREATENING medical emergency. Call for an ambulance and request information as to what to do until the ambulance arrives.
A person with suspected heat stroke (sun stroke) should always go to the hospital (or call for an ambulance) at once.
For heat exhaustion, a person should go to the hospital if any of the following are present:
1. Loss of consciousness, confusion, or delirium
2. Chest or abdominal pain
3. Inability to drink fluids
4. Continuous vomiting
5. Body temperature is more than 104 F (40 C)
6. Temperature that is rising despite attempts to cool the person
People who have ever had heat exhaustion or heat strokes have told me that they find that their ability to take extreme heat is worse than before. Be careful!!!